Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Repent and Be Baptized

Acts 2:38 says "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

On Sunday, October 31, 1976, as the piano played "The Way of the Cross Leads Home," I walked down the center aisle of a little country church and shook the preacher's hand and told him I loved Jesus and I wanted to be baptized.  My younger sister took that walk with me.  Our church didn't have a baptismal, so we went to a church in town that afternoon (the same church I was married in) and I was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

I remember that day like it was yesterday.  I remember the song that was playing, I remember the preacher talking to me and making certain I understood what I was doing.  I remember walking into the water and going under and coming up feeling on top of the world.  And I knew from that day forward I belonged to Jesus.

Please don't misunderstand.  I do NOT believe that baptism is salvation.  I believe that baptism is an outward symbol of an inward change of heart, of a new beginning.  I believe we are to be baptized because Jesus was baptized.

I still think of that day so many years ago.  I wish I could tell you that I've lived a perfect life since that day thirty-six years ago, but I haven't.  I have failed my Savior so many times.  I have disappointed Him.  I have broken His heart.  But thank God He loves me anyway.  In spite of all my failures, He still loves me.  He still hears my prayers.  He still walks beside me and strengthens me and encourages me.  I love Him so!!

As the words of that old hymn that played on the day of my baptism say, the way of the cross does lead home.  In fact, it is the only way to get to heaven.  Jesus died on the cross for you, and for me.  His blood that was shed offers righteousness to all who ask.  Not our righteousness, we can't be righteous on our own.  We fail miserably.  But Jesus offers us HIS righteousness when we accept Him and ask Him to come into our hearts and change us. 


I know that a lot of my posts are about my kids, or about our farm, or cooking, or gas prices, or other day to day things.  But my prayer is that everyone who reads my blog knows that the most imporant thing in my life is Jesus.  All other things are secondary.  The Bible tells us to seek God FIRST!  Seek HIS kingdom, seek HIS righteousness.  Everything else is temporary.

So please, if you don't know Jesus, ask Him, right now, to come into your heart.  Believe that He is the Son of God, and that He died on the cross for you.  Ask Him to forgive you of your sins.  Find a good Bible believing church and attend faithfully.  Read your Bible and pray, pray, PRAY!!!  God loves you so much.  It is His desire that none should perish.  But the only way to heaven is through Jesus.  There is no other way.  Jesus said so. 

I am so thankful that I gave my heart to Jesus on that cold Sunday afternoon thirty-six years ago today.  It was the best decision I ever made, and it will be the best decision you ever make, too

What can wash away my sin?  NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!!  Amen and amen!!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Had an awesome church service yesterday.  Our Pastor reminded us that God wants us to be "ALL IN" for Him. 

If Noah hadn't been "all in" he wouldn't have built the ark.

Are you ALL IN for God??  Or are you straddling the fence?

If you aren't all in, make a decision TODAY to give everything to Him.

We don't have to do it on our own.  I mean, seriously, there's NO WAY we can do it on our own. But if we want God's best for us, then we have to give OUR ALL to Him!!!

I want everything God has for me.  I know He has an awesome plan for my life.  So today, I ask Him to show me the areas of my life that I am holding onto, and to help me let go.  I know He wants me to put Him first in every area of my life!

Thank you God!  You are so awesome!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Green Beans

Central Missouri experienced a drought in 2012 the likes of which I've never seen in my lifetime.  The drought not only affected our pastures, but it affected our garden. 

We usually have a very large garden and we do lots of canning and freezing.  We can homemade salsa, we can green beans, we freeze corn, and I make apple butter and several different kinds of jams and jellies.

But this year our garden just burnt up. We didn't freeze any corn, we didn't make any salsa, and we had no summertime green beans.  However, my husband did plant some fall green beans and they turned out GREAT!

Frankly I would rather can fall beans than summertime beans.  The main reason is a very selfish one.  IT IS SO HOT IN THE SUMMERTIME THAT IT IS MISERABLE TO PICK THE BEANS!
The second (and much less selfish) reason is that fall beans turn out better (in my opinion).  You don't have as many bugs in the fall, so the beans have fewer bug bites. 
Unfortunately, our fall beans fell victim to an early October frost (one of the big drawbacks of depending on fall green beans for canning) so we were only able to can 52 quarts.  We usually can around 150 quarts, so 52 quarts won't last very long here at Down On The Farm.
I have to admit, I am holding onto those 52 quarts of canned green beans like they are GOLD and I've been feeding my family store bought canned green beans.  I know that may seem silly to you, but the home canned green beans are so much better, I hate to run out!  Don't worry, I think I only have 2 or 3 more cans of "store bought" green beans left in the pantry, and then I'll start using my home canned green beans.
Praying that next summer our garden does much better and that next summer isn't nearly as hot and dry as what we had last year.
So tell me, do you ever hesitate to eat the fruits of your labor like me?  Do you "hoard" your homecanned items?  Do you save them back or just go ahead and eat them like they will last forever?  I would love to hear your thoughts!
Blessings to you!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Apple Butter

Nothing says "fall" to me more than making up a batch of homemade apple butter.  I love apple butter.  It has such a rich, sweet flavor to it.  And I love the color too!! All those shiny jars of apple butter just make me feel good inside.  And those of you who do any home canning know exactly what I mean.

Making apple buttter is not difficult, but it takes TIME!!!  This isn't something you can hurry through.  You really need the better part of a day from start to finish.  But oh, my is it ever worth it!!

I started with just over 13 pounds of Jonathan apples. 

Then I washed and peeled the apples, and sliced them using my Pampered Chef slicer.  I tried using the Pampered Chef slicer first and then peeling . . . but I didn't think it worked as well.  But you can do whatever works best for you.  Just peel all of the apples, take out the core, slice them up and throw them in a large pan on about medium heat. 

This is the apples when they first started cooking. 

And here, they've started to cook down a little bit.

This pictures was after about 45 minutes of cooking.  You want the apples to be very soft. 

Because, you're going to run them through this colander.

You can use whatever method you prefer.  I have a food mill, but frankly couldn't find it. (Hey, I gotta be honest!) So I used this old colander.  If you have an electric food grinder, I think that would work too.  You want the apples to be about the consistency of apple sauce once you run it through the food mill, or colander or grinder.  This is the most time consuming part of the process to me.  So I think I will probably look into some faster (i.e. electric) method of processing the apples next time I make apple butter.

Here are the apples after running them through the colander. 

To this you add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (regular vinegar will work just fine) and 5 pounds of sugar.  Yes, I said 5 pounds of sugar.  This is NOT a low calorie recipe!!  But the sugar acts as the "preservative" for the apple buttter.  And definitely is a big part of the flavor!

Stir the vinegar and sugar into the apples and put it in the oven at 325 degrees for 5 hours.  You will need to stir the mixture about once an hour. 

Here is the apple butter after an hour or so.

And here it is a couple of hours later.  Look at that beautiful color.  The apple butter will get darker, and thicker, the longer it cooks.  Which just makes it taste better!!

This is after 5 hours of cooking.  See how beautiful that looks.  And oh my you can't IMAGINE how my kitchen smelled!!!

Now, add 1/4 cup of "red hots" or as the store calls them now "cinnamon imperials."  Frankly I just used the whole package, which was nearly 1/2 cup.

After you add the red hots, stir everything again, and put it back in the oven for one more hour
 See that delicious apple butter and the little pieces of red hots?  Those will completely melt into the apple butter over the next hour. 

Now doesn't that just look DELICIOUS????  Seriously, if you have never made homemade apple butter I would encourage you to give it a whirl.  As I said, it is NOT difficult, but it does take some time.  But when you spread that apple butter over a piece of toast, or onto an English muffin, YUM YUM YUM.  You will KNOW it was worth every single second of your time!!! 
Again, being totally honest, it was very late when I finished putting the apple butter into the jars (it made 17 half-pints), and I completely forgot to take pictures.  I processed my jars in a water bath
for 10 minutes and then let them cool. The jars just look beautiful on the shelf, and I've already sampled the apple butter.  Delicious!!!  So go buy yourself some apples and give homemade apple butter a try.  I think you will be glad you did!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Ankle

You may remember that on Thursday, September 6, Alex hurt her ankle during the first few minutes of a volleyball game.

She hasn't played volleyball since.  That will be FIVE WEEKS AGO TONIGHT!!

The x-ray showed no fracture (praise the LORD), but man oh man did she injure that ankle.  See???

These pictures look GOOD.  Her ankle actually got MUCH WORSE over the next several days.  Especially the bruising.  Her ankle was bruised horribly.  She had bruising all the way up the back of her leg.  Her toes were bruised and swollen.

These pictures just DO NOT show the extent of the bruising and swelling.  I have never seen anything so badly injured that wasn't broken.

Even her poor little toes were swollen.  Several days after this picture was taken, her toes, and the rest of her foot and ankle, were black and blue.  And that lasted for weeks.

Doesn't that look like it really hurts?


The first week she was on crutches.  Then she graduated to a "walking boot."  And finally to just an ankle brace.  She still wears that ankle brace every day.

Alex has been going to physical therapy every day.  And her ankle is actually MUCH BETTER.  She can walk on it fine (with the ankle brace) and can actually jog.  Side to side motion still hurts.  As I said, she has NOT been released to play volleyball, and our season is almost over.

Please continue praying for complete healing of Alex's ankle.  Of course we want her playing volleyball as soon as she can, but most of all we want that ankle healed.  If that means she can't play again this season, then we will accept that.

Thanks to each and every one of you who have prayed for Alex and for her ankle.  I appreciate it so very much!  I am so thankful for the Godly people that the Lord has placed into my life for such a time as this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Drought 2012

I know there was a lot of coverage on the news about the drought of 2012.  I can honestly tell you that, in my lifetime, I don't ever remember a summer with SO LITTLE RAIN.  And since my husband is a farmer, the drought is more than news, it affects our livelihood.

Here are some pictures (YES THANK YOU EBAY FOR MY NEW USB CORD) I took here at Down On The Farm the day before the hurricane brought some much needed rain to our neck of the woods.

No, we aren't grain farmers, we raise commercial beef cattle.  And what do cows eat?  Grass.  And what does it take to make grass grow?  Rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  Rain that we didn't get this summer.  Here is a picture of my back yard.  There is nothing green.

This is my front yard looking out at the front pasture.  Dead.  And you can barely see that pine tree at the top of the picture.  All of the needles are brown and falling off.  I fear that tree is dead too.

Another closeup of my back yard.  It is just dead.  I mowed my yard the second week of June, and didn't mow again until the end of September.  Even weeds wouldn't grow.

This picture is of our pond bank.  You see all those rocks?  Normally those rocks are covered with water.  Our pond is the lowest I have ever seen it in 15 years of living here.

Another shot of the pond.  The water level should be way up high on the left hand side of the picture.  Instead, it is LOW LOW LOW. 

This shows the pond dam.  Normally, that tree is just barely sticking up out of the water. 

Another shot of the front pasture.  Just a hint of green right around the pond, but nothing for our cattle to eat.

When the hurricane blew into town, we got 3" of rain in about two days.  Now you may think 3" of rain is a lot.  Well, now don't get me wrong, we are thankful for every single drop of rain we got that weekend!!  But the drought isn't over here in Central Missouri.  Yes, things are better.  My yard has greened up, and so have our pastures.  But, we still need another 9" of rain RIGHT NOW to get us back to "normal." 

We need a second cutting of hay to help feed our cattle.  We have sold off several head this summer.  We started feeding hay in August.  Much earlier than we would in a normal year.

Please continue to pray for everyone affected by the drought.  We still need more rain.

And thank you so much for sticking with me through the "drought" of pictures here at Down On The Farm.  I promise to try to post more frequently and give you some pictures to look at.  Blessings to each and every one of you! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Technical Difficulties!

Hello there my blogging friends!  You have probably been saying to yourself "there aren't any pictures on that Down On The Farm blog anymore."  You've probably been wondering "why doesn't she post any pictures?"  I know that question is burning in your minds.  Inquiring minds want to know!

Well, the answer is, I can't find the cord that connects my camera to my computer.  I had it, then I lost it.  I've searched high and low up and down and ALL AROUND.  And without that cord, I can't transfer pictures from my camera to the computer.

I have pictures of the drought.  I have pictures of my daughter's swollen ankle.  Pictures I know you can't WAIT to see HA!!!

So today I broke down, got on EBAY, and for $1.80 (free shipping!) they are sending me a new cord.  So, if you can hang on another week, I'll be able to post some pictures for you.

Thanks for your patience, and have a very blessed day.

And in case you're curious, my beautiful daughter still is NOT cleared to play volleyball. Her ankle is much better, but still pretty sore if she tries to do anything strenuous, like play volleyball.  Keep praying!